Watch CBS News

Families Want Justice After Holyoke Soldiers' Home Coronavirus Outbreak

BOSTON (CBS) - Among the faces of the veterans who died of Covid-19 at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home is Susan Kenney's father Charles Lowell. She tells WBZ his death "was preventable for sure."

The Air Force veteran would have been 79 Monday. Reading the disturbing details in the independent report into that happened at the facility brought Susan to tears. "Veterans that fought for our country just put together like cattle, it's unacceptable, it's horrible," Kenney said. "This can never happen again."

READ: Independent Report Finds Errors Led To Holyoke Soldiers' Home Coronavirus Outbreak

The Disabled American Veterans of Massachusetts said a lack of funding, an old understaffed facility and poor leadership helped to create a disaster.

"This tragedy, and it's a tragedy, has been decades in the making," said DAV Commander Deb Olson. "We need to fix this system and we need to treat and ensure that our brothers and sisters in the facilities are properly cared for."

Making sure veterans get the care they deserve and holding those responsible for what are now more than 75 deaths is Laurie Mandeville Beaudette's mission. Her father Jim, a Navy veteran, also died in Holyoke. She tells WBZ, "I would like to see criminal and civil charges brought against those people that are responsible for this fiasco."

Susan Kenney agrees. "People need to be held accountable for their actions and their choices," Kenney said. "My father would want that."

The families are hoping the still pending criminal investigations will give them justice.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.